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UGA’s Fox Tries To Ac-Cent-Chu-Ate The Positive In Athens

Following a homecourt loss to Vanderbilt yesterday, Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox was looking for positives.  In fact, he was sharing several of them with the press and with Bulldog fans:


“We’ve played 12 league games and we’ve made more baskets than our opponent.  We’ve had fewer turnovers in league play.  We have more offensive rebounds.  We’re getting beaten at the foul line — we’re not physical enough to draw free throw attempts but we’re close.  If we make free throws and finish better around the basket, this game (against Vandy) comes down to the wire.”


Whether or not Dawg fans want to hear all that from their third-year coach is another matter.  Georgia is currently 3-9 in SEC play and 12-14 overall.  They are one game ahead of last-place South Carolina in the league standings and lost to the Gamecocks last week.  In a sport dominated by the home team, UGA is just 2-4 at Stegeman Coliseum this year.

Fox may be speaking the gospel truth, but it’s unlikely he’ll be getting any amens from the congregation.

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SEC Headlines – 12/8/11 AM Edition

1.  Texas A&M AD Bill Byrne says he didn’t like having to fire Mike Sherman over the phone after news of the decision began to leak.  (A&M shouldn’t have fired Sherman in the first place, but we’ll have more on that when they make their hire.)

2.  This report — and there have been several varying takes on this subject — claims that Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain backed out on a deal with Memphis.

3.  Some homecoming, Alabama was upset 74-62 last night at Dayton, Anthony Grant’s alma mater.

4.  Bad statistical numbers finally caught up with ex-Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof.

5.  Running back Knile Davis says a positive attitude helped him get through rehab for his injured ankle.

6.  The awards keep rolling in at LSU.

7.  Despite all that offseason work with John Lucas down in Houston, MSU’s Renardo Sidney likely isn’t “draftable under any scenario right now.”

8.  Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze — just named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year — plans to discipline by “accountability groups.”

9.  Two names that popped up on the UM rumor mill pre-Freeze: Phillip Fulmer and Jimmy Johnson.

10.  Isn’t wasn’t pretty, but Florida bested Arizona 78-72 at the O-Dome last night.

11.  Georgia Tech won at Stegeman Coliseum for the first time in 35 years last night, 68-56, sending Georgia to its fourth-straight loss overall.

12.  Think Steve Spurrier’s recruiting well at South Carolina?  For the second year in a row his team features the SEC’s Freshman of the Year.

13.  Tennessee’s Jeronne Maymon needs to start working the glass a bit more.

14.  Festus Ezeli was back in the lineup and Vanderbilt got back in the win column with an 87-83 victory over Davidson.

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Basketball Investments Paying Off For UGA

Since 2007, the University of Georgia has sunk plenty of money into its basketball program:

* A new practice facility has been erected
* One coach was fired and a replacement hired
* Stegeman Coliseum has been given a facelift

And now those expenditures are paying dividends for the Dawgs.  As the Tim Tucker of The AJC points out, with a win over LSU tonight, Georgia will have gone from a 20-game loser just two seasons ago to a 20-game winner.  That’s a pretty good return on investment.

“There may be an institution — but I don’t know where it is — that in the last five years has made more of a commitment to its football and basketball programs than we have,” Georgia prez Michael Adams said last week.  “We are serious about being major players in all of our 21 sports, but in football and men’s basketball, we have a special interest because that is what pays the bills.”

Fans are responding — hoops attendance in Athens is up 20% over last year — and that will indeed help to pay some bills.

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SEC Headlines – 3/2/11 Part One

1.  Beat Arkansas tonight and Mississippi State clinches the #2 seed in the West — and the bye that comes with it — in next week’s SEC tourney.

2.  That SEC Tournament is the only tournament on the Bulldogs’ minds.

3.  A hobbled Dee Bost is still a star for MSU.

4.  Ole Miss will try to build on its upset of Alabama with a win over Auburn tonight.

5.  If UM wins and Arkansas beats MSU tonight, the Rebels will still have a shot at the #2 seed in the West.

6.  Two of Andy Kennedy’s first signees in Oxford — Zach Graham and Chris Warren — are winding down their Rebel careers.

7.  Florida’s 78-51 rout of Alabama locked up the regular-season SEC title for the Gators.  (Even if Bama and UF finish tied, the Gators beat the Tide head to head.)

8.  It was an extra special Senior Night in Gainesville… for obvious reasons.

9.  Vernon Macklin was unstoppable in the second half last night.

10.  Georgia’s seniors will be set for a Stegeman Coliseum send-off when they host LSU tonight.

11.  The game could also be the last home game for underclassmen stars Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie…

12.  But Leslie’s draft stock isn’t as strong as Thompkins’.

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SEC Headlines – 2/26/11

1.  Alabama needs to increase its offensive efficiency down the home stretch.

2.  Mark Ingram faced plenty of questions about his knee at the NFL combine.

3.  It’s been a long first year, but this writer thinks the future looks bright for Auburn.

4.  Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett were expected to talk with the media at the combine yesterday, but now they’re scheduled to chat today.

5.  Quiet LSU will host physical Vanderbilt this afternoon.

6.  Trent Johnson is happy to finally see everybody contributing for the Tigers.

7.  Senior Zach Graham has had an under-the-radar good year for Ole Miss.

8.  Mississippi State wants a first-round bye in the SEC tourney… and needs a win over Tennessee today to help get it.

9.  Florida will try to snap Kentucky’s 32-game home winning streak today.

10.  New offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will make $765,000 this season.  (He also grabbed a $100,000 signing bonus.)

11.  Overall, the Gators’ new staff will make nearly $3 million this season.

12.  Georgia will look to avoid another collapse when it faces South Carolina tonight.

13.  Greg McGarity wants Dawg fans to know that “Rocky” will be back at Stegeman Coliseum next week.

14.  New UGA defensive assistant Kirk Olivadotti met with the media in Athens yesterday.

15.  John Calipari says his players have to want it more.

16.  Coach Cal also said that right now, he’d “probably not” recommend the NBA early entry route for any of his players.

17.  UK’s coach is getting tired of DeAndre Liggins drawing technical fouls.

18.  Former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders admitted yesterday that he lied to the NCAA and did accept gifts from an agent’s runner.

19.  The basketball Gamecocks will have more confidence against Georgia today than they had the first time the two teams met.

20.  Two Jekyll and Hyde teams will meet when Tennessee hosts MSU today.

21.  The UT board of trustees is taking the NCAA’s allegations against the school “very seriously.”

22.  When Vanderbilt isn’t hitting threes, the Commodores struggle.

23.  Five Alabama fans who began the “Tide for Toomer’s” Facebook page raised nearly $50,000, but yesterday they had to turn off the comment section due to negativity.

24.  Here’s a look at the SEC’s three NCAA tourney locks and its three bubble teams.

25.  The SEC has announced that the Georgia Dome will host the SEC Championship Game through 2017.  (As it should.  Perfect location.)

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UGA’s McGarity Complains To SEC About Officiating In Loss

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity confirmed yesterday that he “expressed concerns” to the SEC office regarding officiating in the final minutes of Tennessee’s 59-57 win in Athens on Tuesday night.

Ah, the dreaded “road cooking.”

The Athens Banner-Herald reports that McGarity would not go into details about his discussions with the league office.  “There’s basically a protocal that you do.  You bring concerns to the SEC office and they deal with them.  They’ll deal with them appropriately and that’s what you do.  But you don’t discuss it publicly.” 

And that’s how you avoid a fine.

Much has been made over the buzzer-beating shot that UT’s Brian Williams lofted over UGA’s Chris Barnes to win the game.  Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl — who watched the game from his couch in Knoxville — said that that call would usually go against Williams… who appeared to go over Barnes’ back to bring in a rebound and then launch the game-winner.  Pearl, however, did point out that Williams had both hands on the ball before any contact was made with Barnes which is why — in his mind — the call might not have been made.  Barnes said after the game that “you’re not gonna get that type of call.”  In addition, it appeared as though Barnes locked his hand onto Williams as he released his shot, too.

Verdict: A judgement call that would go one way one time, the other way another time.

The Dawgs appear to have a more legitimate beef regarding a Josh Bone jumper with about 2:25 left in the game.  The Tennessee guard dropped the shot to give the Vols a 55-54 lead, but replays showed that Bone did not release the ball before the shot clock had hit zero.  Unfortunately for Georgia, officials did not go back and check the replays.

“I knew the shot clock was going down, but I didn’t know it was at zero,” Bone told The Knoxville News Sentinel.  “I saw the replay later and I was like ‘Ohhh!’  But it’s over now.”

It doesn’t sound like McGarity has reached Bone’s level of acceptance quite yet.

McGarity told The Macon Telegraph that there was no malfunction with the Stegeman Coliseum system that might explain the blown call.

“One could argue the horn could have been louder,” McGarity said.  “But as loud as it gets in that arena… there were no arena deficiencies that aided in that decision.”

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SEC Headlines – 1/18/11 Part One

1.  Here are the highlights from yesterday’s SEC coaches’ conference call with the media.

2.  After Saturday’s loss to South Carolina, Florida remains out of the national polls for a fourth-straight week.

3.  Gator running back Mike Blakely will miss spring practice due to shoulder surgery.

4.  A win tonight over Tennessee would equal UGA’s win total from a season ago (14).

6.  UGA’s Mark Fox doesn’t want to be compared to the Vols.  “I would say that we’re not modeling ourselves after what they’ve done.”

7.  John Calipari made sure his team got a “history lesson” on MLK Day.

8.  Coach Cal wants Terrence Jones to become a complete player by passing the ball more.

9.  Steve Spurrier says South Carolina doesn’t “deserve much preseason ranking.”

10.  Tennessee had a 10-game win streak over Georgia… until heading to Stegeman Coliseum last year.

11.  Bruce Pearl will stay in Knoxville for tonight’s game with the Dawgs.

12.  It seems the Vols sometimes need reminding to put forth an A effort.

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